Pathological liars are, in essence, people who lie more often than they tell the truth, usually for self-serving purposes. They've discovered that they can get what they want more easily by telling lies, and they do it so often that lying becomes a routine behaviour. Unfortunately, many pathological liars suffer from other psychological illnesses, such as personality disorders. They cannot be trusted.
Pathological liars cannot be diagnosed as such until they have reached sufficient maturity to know the difference between the truth and a lie, and are capable of knowing that lying is wrong. In general, pathological liars are diagnosed with mythomania, which is a condition in which the patient lies when telling the truth would not bring him harm, and may be linked with a disorder in which patients fake symptoms in order to be treated as ill.
Many people assume that pathological liars are the same as compulsive liars, but this isn't true. Compulsive liars feel the undeniable need to lie regardless of the situation, while pathological liars usually only lie when it will help them in some way. They might use lying to score a date or get a promotion at work, while a compulsive liar will say that he went to one store when he actually went to another. The difference is the reason behind the lie.
Pathological liars are usually very congenial toward others, though they may engage in "back-stabbing" behaviour in order to get ahead in life. They lie without regard for other people's needs or feelings, many times sacrificing their friends and family members for the good of self. They may become aggressive when cornered and confronted about their lies, and often respond to intense questioning with anger and even violence.
It is often difficult to identify pathological liars at a first meeting, but the symptoms become clear once you get to know the individual. Most pathological liars have a narcissistic attitude toward home life and career, will lie even when the lies are transparent, will stick to their lies even when they are confronted with evidence of their treachery, and the lies will often be unnecessarily dramatic and unbelievable.
Pathological liars have detrimental effects not only on their own immediate circle of family, friends and colleagues, but on anyone with whom they come into contact. Because their lies are self-serving in nature, they are likely to bring other people down with them, particularly if they are caught in a serious lie. They are more likely to blame someone else for a situation than to take responsibility, and consequently lose friends just as fast as they make them.
If you identify a pathological liar in your life, it is important that you realise who you are dealing with. You can't trust this person to tell you the truth about anything, and you should know that he is always looking for a way to get ahead. For most pathological liars, there is no such thing as loyalty, and lies will incorporate anyone and anything around them. Therefore, putting a person like this in a position of authority or dominance is dangerous, and it is usually best to cut this type of person out of your life.
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